Despite a judge ruling on Sunday that two Steubenville high school football players were guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the case isn’t yet fully closed.
In a statement delivered Sunday after the judge announced his decision, DeWine said, “I believe with these verdicts justice has been done.”
However, DeWine said that “this investigation cannot be completed—that we cannot bring finality to this matter—without the convening of a Grand Jury.”
The attorney general asked a local court to convene a grand jury in mid-April for the purpose of determining whether any other individuals had committed any offense related to the rape. While he and his team from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation have completed nearly 60 interviews in relation to the rape case, including 27 Steubenville football coaches, 16 individuals have “refused to talk” to the investigators, he said.
DeWine left open the possibility that no other crimes would be revealed throughout the grand jury process, but said that it’s a necessary step to help the Steubenville community move forward.
“A Grand Jury is an investigative tool that is uniquely suited to ensure fairness and to complete this investigation,” DeWine said. “And this community needs assurance that no stone has been left unturned in our search for the truth.”
The investigation could target students and adults who failed to report the initial rape allegation, Steubenville City Manager Cathy Davidson told the Associated Press today.
Teachers, school employees, and school administrators are required by state law to report suspected child abuse, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway. Experts told my colleague Nirvi Shah back in 2011 that most states have clear laws requiring K-12 teachers and other school employees to report suspicions of abuse to police or child-protection authorities.
DeWine made it clear during his Sunday press conference that youth-related sexual assault isn’t exclusive to the small Ohio community.
“This is not just a Steubenville problem,” DeWine said. “This is a societal problem.”
“Crimes of sexual assault are occurring every Friday night and Saturday night in big and small communities all across the country,” he said.
The attorney general said that society as a whole must step up to educate youths about rape. Along those lines, more than 46,000 people have already signed an online petition asking the National Federation of State High School Associations to develop a course on sexual violence prevention for high school coaches.
Photo: Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, right, answers questions about the successful prosecution of two juveniles in a rape case during a news conference on Sunday at the Jefferson County Justice Center in Steubenville, Ohio. Prosecutor Brian Deckert and Prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter joined DeWine. (Michael D. McElwain/Steubenville Herald-Star/AP)
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.